NFL Week 14 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 14 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 12: Rick: 8-8; Coin: 8-8
Cumulative: Rick: 91-99-2; Coin: 90-100-2

Thursday, December 5

8:20 pm Dallas Cowboys (-3, 42 1/2) at Chicago Bears - With just four weeks remaining in the regular season, t's time to separate the men from the boys, in this case, the Cowboys. Dallas has dropped two in a row and three of four. Due only to the ineptitude of the Eagles, the 6-6 Cowboys are still in first place in the NFC East, easily the worst division in the league, with a combined four-team record of 16-32.

Chicago holds the same record as Dallas, but they're trailing both Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North. They probably have to run the table to earn a playoff spot, which means beating Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City and Minnesota, a tall order. Dallas being the weakest of that bunch, the Bears will keep hopes alive for at least another week.

Coin Flip: Dallas

Prediction: Bears 24 Cowboys 20

Sunday, December 8

1:00 pm Baltimore Ravens (-6, 43 1/2) at Buffalo Bills - Winners of eight straight, the Ravens have topped some of the best teams in the NFL, including the Patriots, 49ers, Texans and Rams, and, for the most part, done so handily. Could their streak come to an end in Buffalo? It's a possibility, as the Bills are a surprising 9-3, their young team improving week by week.

On Thanksgiving, the Bills had a national coming out party, dusting the Cowboys, 26-15. On Sunday, Baltimore won on a game-ending field goal, 20-17, over San Francisco. Buffalo's defense is the key, as containing Lamar Jackson has been nearly impossible this season, but the Bills may have the athletes to at least keep him in check. Buffalo will also have to be nearly perfect in the kicking department in order to hang with the Ravens.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Ravens 23 Bills 19

1:00 pm Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3, 47 1/2) - Carolina's 29-21 loss to the Redskins last week clinched the NFC South for the Saints and virtually eliminated the Panthers from playoff contention. A loss here will make it official. Both teams have proven to be busts in 2019, but Carolina's defense has fallen completely apart during their current four-game losing streak, allowing 29 points per game. The Falcons aren't much better, but at least they're at home.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Falcons 31 Panthers 24

1:00 pm Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-8 1/2, 40 1/2) - Cleveland's playoff hopes are marginal at best. They can't catch Baltimore in their division, and they trail Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Indianapolis and Oakland in the wild card. If it wasn't for the consistency of losing by the Bengals, they'd be the laughing stock of the AFC North. As it is, they are wildly inconsistent and are probably not good enough to top Cincinnati by more than a touchdown.

Andy Dalton returned from a three-week absence to deliver a 22-6 win over the Jets for the Bengals, their first victory of the season. Their defense is also better than most people think.

Coin Flip: Cleveland

Prediction: Browns 24 Bengals 21

1:00 pm Denver Broncos at Houston Texans (-9 1/2, 42 1/2) - Denver defeated San Diego last week, 23-20, on a questionable pass interference call that set up a game-winning field goal as time expired. It was a meaningless encounter, as neither team will be playing in the post-season.

Houston played big Sunday night, topping the Patriots, 28-22, and are rewarded with their third straight home game. They should handle the Broncos with relative ease, as Denver has the worst record since the Texans faced Jacksonville in week nine. Houston won that game 26-3. Houston is 5-1 at home; the Broncos 1-5 on the road.

Coin Flip: Denver

Prediction: Texans 38 Broncos 10

1:00 pm Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-13, 43) - Detroit's 24-20 loss to the Bears on Thanksgiving was likely the final nail in the coffin for the Lions' season. At 3-8-1, they're mathematically eliminated from playoff consideration and will probably be playing a lot of subs, thinking ahead to next year. Minnesota already topped them, 42-30, at Detroit in week seven, and that was before Matthew Stafford was injured, so this beating is likely to be more severe.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Prediction: Vikings 35 Lions 9

1:00 pm Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3, 47) - Regardless of whether they're winning or losing, Tampa Bay scores plenty of points. They've been held to a season low 17 twice, against San Francisco and New Orleans, two solid defensive teams. The Bucs have won two straight, 35-22, at Atlanta, and, 28-11, at Jacksonville. At home, they're likely to put up 30 or more agains the Colts, who often sputter offensively.

Despite their 6-6 mark, the Colts have lost four of their last five, and haven't scored more than 24 points in any of those games. They're unlikely to keep up with gunning James Winston and the swashbuckling Buccaneers.

Coin Flip: Tampa Bay

Prediction: Buccaneers 34 Colts 24

1:00 pm Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-5 1/2, 45) - While the Jets were being demolished by the Bengals, handing Cincinnati their first win of the season, 22-6, the Dolphins were roused to a 37-31 win over the Eagles.

Miami already has a 26-18 win over the Jets from week nine. They have a good chance to take down their division rival again, in what has to be considered the most meaningless game of the season.

Coin Flip: Miami

Prediction: Dolphins 27 Jets 21

1:00 pm San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-2 1/2, 44 1/2) - By virtue of a 27-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks in week 10 and last week's 20-17 defeat at Baltimore, the 49ers have ceded first place in the NFC West to Seattle and now have to travel again to New Orleans. The Saints have the same record - 10-2 - as the 49ers, but they've already wrapped up the NFC South title and will be looking at their remaining games to secure the #1 or #2 seed in the playoffs.

San Francisco is not yet done, however, and may prove tougher than the Saints expect. The 49ers hold statistical edges on both sides of the ball and played the Ravens - possibly the best team in the league right now - to a virtual standstill for all but the final three seconds of the game. Don't expect a shootout as both teams are adept defensively, but especially the 49ers. New Orleans hasn't played a team with a winning record since topping the Bears, 36-25, in week seven.

Coin Flip: San Francisco

Prediction: 49ers 26 Saints 17

1:00 pm Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers (-13, 41 1/2) - Green Bay took care of business last week in New York, whipping the Giants, 31-13. Their 9-3 mark has them a game up on Minnesota for first place in the NFC North, but the Packers hold a 21-16 win over the Vikings from week two and play at Minnesota in two weeks. The Packers are likely to stay ahead in the division race. This should be a relatively easy win, but they'll have to deal with Dwayne Haskins' big arm. He's guided the Redskins to two straight victories.

With nothing to lose here, the Redskins should be loose and may surprise Green Bay with an offense that's put up 48 points in its last two games. If Washington's defense holds up, this could be a lot closer than the Packers may like.

Coin Flip: Green Bay

Prediction: Packers 27 Redskins 20

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